I worked at Avascent full-time (More than a year)
Avascent is a great place to work for a variety of reasons. Most of the work is highly engaging, and the diversity of projects ensures that you'll rarely be bored (or if you are, then it won't be for long). The culture is collaborative, authentic, and supportive, and people genuinely enjoy working together. The expectations are high - but this is because the firm wants to achieve excellence, and this requires setting high standards. I also respect that its management supports civic engagement with numerous community service events every year - during the workday, rather than the more common "Yes, you should support the community...but on your own time."
The people are what make the company distinct though. I found my colleagues to be caring, driven, thoughtful, and intellectually curious. The relationships I built there are ones I'll value for years to come.
In my opinion, none of the "Cons" of Avascent are unique to the firm but are common challenges of small firms or of the broader defense industry. Like many entrepreneurial firms, staffing and personal growth can be ad hoc and relationship-based, despite attempts to add structure. This can make it harder for mid-career hires to navigate a path, though the firm has taken many steps to rectify this. And as with the broader defense industry, Avascent is not the most diverse at the top levels of the firm, though it recognizes this as well and is working to improve the situation. I credit its management with working hard to be self-aware of its shortcomings, and putting time and effort into fixing them.
Advice to Management
The improvements you made or were in the process of making while I was there seemed like the right ones. I appreciated the focus on continual improvement, and I suspect the current and future employees will too.
I applied online. I interviewed at Avascent (Washington, DC).
The interview process consisted of two rounds, a Skype one and an in-person one in DC. I found the Skype interview fair, it consisted of a behavioral round and a case. They informed me of the structure beforehand. If one wants to do consulting, one should really be familiar with this format. My feeling from reading other reviews here is that many people were not prepared for consulting type interview. This would be a mistake, by my lights. Especially since Skype is a somewhat awkward medium for a case question.
I enjoyed the in person round, something I thought I would never say about a job interview. I interviewed with various employees across different levels, and they were all engaged and interesting. Again, they were very communicative about the setup beforehand. No real way to prepare for this, just make sure you have read up on the company and industry.
In summary, everyone was very kind and professional, and the interview was pretty in line with the other consulting ones I have done, just a little more involved: BAH, Deloitte S&O, IBM, ACN, etc.
If it means anything, I found it very easy to choose Avascent when I got my offers.